Filo Pastry Mince Pies Bites

I don’t really post about it here, but I belong to Slimming World. I rejoined recently to eat healthily and mindfully.

Tonight we have a taster session, effectively a buffet full of healthy food designed to give you a pile of ideas for food to try at home.
After a bit of googling and checking of syn values I settled on Filo Pastry Mince Pies Bites. I bought a jar of Mincemeat from Waitrose which came in a 1 syn a TSP, and after playing round came up with a recipe.
These a 2 syns (or 40 calories) a bite/pie. They are really light, and more inspired by Mince Pies than anything but when your average Mince Pie can be 11 syns (220 calories) it’s a nice alternative.

Recipe
Two Sheets of Filo Pastry.
Jar of Mincemeat
Egg (for binding and glazing)
Frylight (to grease)
Preheat the oven 180°C (mine is fan assisted) and spray a 12 hole cupcake tray with Frylight.
Lay out the two Filo pastry sheets, lengthwise ontop of each other. Cut in half, and half again.
Layer the pastry together and cut into thirds.
Lay out twelve squares of Filo on a clean counter top.
Crack and beat an egg, using now using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg into the centre of the pastry.
Add the second piece of Filo ontop of the twelve squares, in a star type pattern. Add a level teaspoon of Mincemeat to each Filo star.
Fold one corner of the pastry in over the Mincemeat, level out if needed. Using he pastry brush egg wash each section of pastry before folding another section ontop. Repeat until folded into a parcel.
Place each Filo bite into a hole in the cupcake tray, and add an egg glaze ontop of each.

Bake on on 180°C for 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

-Emily

(These are family approved, I left these on the cake plate Sunday evening and by Monday when I got home from work they had all been eaten.)

Triple Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Brownies are my ultimate sweet treat.
They are chocolatey, gooey whilst holding thier shape. I’ve been making them for about five years now, and they are the perfect treat for a birthday gift or dinner party.
The bake time is really important with brownies. Overcook them and they turn to dry biscuits, undercook them and they won’t hold thier shape.

If you have self control, they also freeze well. I’ll often freeze half the batch either for later or a specific occasion.

I’ve spent the last week baking, and am on my third tray of these, and I wanted to share my recipe;

Ingredients
185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate (broken into chunks)
250g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
65g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate (chopped small)
50g milk chocolate (chopped small)
50g Fudge (chopped small)
Preheat the oven to 160°c, and line your tin.
Before starting cooking weigh everything out, and read the recipe twice.
Start by melting the chocolate . I do this in a microwave in15-20 second intervals, but you could also use the Baine Marie method. Be careful the chocolate doesn’t burn, by stirring and checking. Once the chocolate has melted start incorporating the butter, add it gradually and keep stirring. Heat it gently with the same method as the chocolate if needs be. Once melted together leave to cool.
Next the most time consuming step, creaming the eggs and sugar. Use an electric mixer, on the highest setting for 7-10 minutes, or until the mixture has got fluffy and light.
Once the egg mixture is ready, fold in the cooled chocolate butter.
Next sift in the cocoa/flour, and fold until combined. Add in half the chopped chocolate and fudge.
Pour the batter into a tin, and add the final fudge and chocolate chunks. Prod them into the batter.
Put the brownie mix into the oven for 30-35 minutes. If you want to take the bake out earlier to tell if it’s done, give the bake a light shake bake and forth. There will be some movement but it should still hold together.

Once done, put in the side to cool in the tin. Its best to leave it 3+ hours (or overnight) as the brownie is very dense and takes a while to cool fully.

Peanut butter and Nutella; as 50 g of melted Peanut Butter to the butter/sugar mix. Substitute 50g of Nutella with dark chocolate to the chocolate butter. At the end, melt together another 50g of peanut butter and Nutella and mix this through the tip of the bake.
Caramel; add small measures of caramel evenly across the lined tin before adding the batter. Add the batter ontop of the caramel in the tin and ad 100g of melted caramel across the top of the bake.

Creme Egg; follow the recipe above and 15 minutes from the end of the bake remove the brownie batter from the oven and add mini creme eggs into the par cooked batter. Add to the oven for the last 15 minutes.

White Chocolate and Stem Ginger Fudge Cookies

I love fudge, two of my favorite really indulgent bakes are my Chocolate Fudge Brownies, which I brought with me to my first blogger event, and a Chocolate Fudge cake heck, Fudge was one of my recommendations in last years Fathers Day Gift ideas post. When the opportunity to work with a local fudge brand on a baking post presented itself I jumped at the chance.

I was given a couple bags of The Devon Fudge Company Stem Ginger Fudge, and when playing about with ideas I settled on a sweet  and gooey cookie with white chocolate. I felt the flavor pallet was subtle enough to really hero the Stem Ginger Fudge.

I flicked through my go to baking cook books: Saved By Cake – Marian Keys and The Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook. I settled on the White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies (with a few small alterations):
Recipe:

300 g Sugar

400g Flour

2 large Eggs

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

250g Butter

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

100g White chocolate

125g Stem Ginger Fudge

Instructions 

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 C
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and light yellow in colour, gradually add the eggs.
  3. Add the vanilla extra. And slowly fold in the flour and baking powder.
  4. Fold in the white chocolate, usinf an ice cream scoop portion out your cookies on a baking sheet. Add pieces of chopped Fudge to the cookie’s, avoiding the edges.
  5. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Less time allows for a gooier cookie, and longer allows for a more solid biscuit.

A couple small tips:

– I used any sugar I had left, the benefit of demerara/brown sugar is the sweetness and the colour it adds to the bake. I’m a lazy Baker, so on occasion I make do. The original recipe called for a 100g caster sugar to 200g light brown sugar.

– adding the Fudge at the end allows for an even distribution amongst the cookie’s, avoiding the edges stops any Fudge escaping out of the cookie.

– I omitted the pinch of salt from the original recipie, your call.

I actually Instagram Storied the whole baking process when I made this on Saturday, Im loving Instagram Stories right now (evidenced here) and if you wanted to give me a follow I’m over on: Maytooctober

What do you think? They went down very well, my family made thier way through the batch in about three days!

– Emily

Thank you to the Devon Company for the gifting of thier fudge. If you haven’t tried them yet, they run competitors where you could win a bag of fudge over on thier Twitter from time to time.

Bake along with Bake Off: Week Two – Viennese Whirls

So this week Bake Off saw biscuit week. My heart sank, as i struggle making biscuits. It comes down to trust, I don’t trust or understand these popular British snacks. As they need to be left to firm up whilst cooling, and I am always worried they’ll be under baked.
I decided to try Viennese Whirls, once again attempting the technical challenge. Again, I found the recipe through the BBC website. After assessing the pantry and realising I had nothing in I popped to the shops. I was lucky to get jam sugar, as there was literally one

left on the shelves at Waitrose (I tried Lidil first, but they didn’t even have raspberry jam!). When I got all the ingredients home, I measured everything out and started on the aspect of this I was most comfortable about: the jam.
I felt nervous about this as I was vaguely aware of how easy it is to get hurt from boiling jam, or to burn jam and damage a pan. I mashed the fruit, and popped it on to boil with the sugar whilst I started mixing the butter cream icing. I always find buttercream is a messy, time consuming aspect of baking. I alternated between mixing my jam and buttercream, to be efficient and stop my jam from catching. At the second stage of the jam, I popped the lid on the pan and left the mix boil away, stopping it from bubbling over by lifting the lid multiple times. When this had finished boiling I put this into a glass dish to cool whilst I worked on the biscuit dough.

The dough came together really easily, and per the recommendations at the bottom of the recipie I decanted the dough into a piping bag and placed it to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. I them preheated the oven, paced down some grass proof paper and started to line the spots for the paper.

When the 15 minutes were up, I took the dough out of the fridge to start piping the biscuits. The dough was so hard and unforgiving, it as really difficult to pipe into the shapes. I can see why the contestants struggled this week, I warmed the dough between my hands and it far improved this.


When all three trays had the pipped dough, i popped them into the over to bake and removed them after twelve minutes. I left them onto the side to cool, and then transfers them to a wire rack. Next came a stage that mimicked this weeks bake off again: when I applied the jam and buttercream to each biscuit some of them began to crumble and snap. These biscuits needed a gentle hand.
I sandwiched the jam and buttercream sides together and divvied them up between my, and my partners family and tried my first biscuit. Viennese Whirls have never been a favourite biscuit, and they never will be. They tasted nice, and were a touch over sweet for me. My thought whilst eating this, was that I would have far preferred a slice of Victoria Sponge cake.

Ultimately these looked lovely, they received really positive fed back from my family, and when I was next in the kitchen all the biscuits had been eaten. Would I make these again? As a gift for someone who loved them, potentially, otherwise there are many other bakes I prefer.
Now I’m getting nervous for bread week. I’ve made soda bread before, and I often make bread in my bread maker, but kneading dough by hand isn’t something I have a lot of experience with.

Are you baking along too?
-Emily

Bake Along With Bake Off: Week One, Jaffa Cakes


On Wednesday, like many others across the country, I tuned into watch the first episode of Bake Off. With minimal derision I tweeted my way through the show, picking out my early favourites (Selasi, Candice, Benjamina), and commenting that I wanted to attempt either Jaffa Cakes or the Mirror Cake. Cue Alice from Wooden Windowsills asking if I as going to partake in Bake Along With Bake Off, a series created by Amanda and Ala.

So it all started off ok, I inspected the pantry and established the only thing I needed was some Orange Jelly. a quick trip to the local coop saw me returning with two packets, one to act as a back up in case of a mistake.

I got all my ingredients out, and brought Mary Berry’s recipe for Jaffa Cakes up on the BBC Food website. I started by making my Jelly, per the packet instructions and popping it to set in the fridge. Next was the sponge base, after measuring out the ingredients I looked at the orange I had put in the side perplexed and realised I had forgotten to add grated zest to my jelly. I quickly zested the orange, and added it to my jelly mix (crisis averted).


Back to the sponge, I used my electric mixer to get as much air into the eggs and sugar as possible, and after about seven minutes I added the flour by folding it into the mixture. I was really worried when I first saw the ingredients at how this would make twelve Jaffa cakes but I was feeling more confident when everything was combined.


I greased a cupcake tin and added my sponge mix by tea spoon, when I got to my tenth cake I ran out of mixture and did something I never normally would: I took little bits of mixture from the other cake batters to make it up to twelve. Oven preheated at 180 I put my sponges in for seven minutes. They rose beautifully, and smelt gorgeous. Step one complete.

After leaving the cakes to cool I checked on my jelly which didn’t seem to be setting, I checked with the jelly expert in the family (my dad) who advised jelly normally sets in about half an hour. It had been over an hour and there as no sign of a wiggle in the mix, so I made my second jelly.


Another hour later neither had set, I consulted my father again who mocked my choice to make my jelly on baking trays covered in grease proof paper. We decanted the mixes into glass dishes so the jelly was still shallow. Cut forward to eight hours after I had first put my jelly in the fridge, and they are sort of-almost set…


I decided to make the Jaffa Cakes with this Jelly, and it was… Interesting. I couldn’t cut the jelly with a biscuit cutter, so I used a teaspoon to dollop jelly on the cakes. I then melted my dark chocolate (I’ll always chose dark chocolate in cooking, I like the slightly bitter edge) and drizzled it over the cakes and jelly with another spoon. This did not go well.


The chocolate slipped off the jelly, either to the sides or around the jelly. I gave all the cakes a chocolate coating anyway and put them in the fridge. They set within an hour or so and I shared one with my sister and they were definitely edible, so I popped them in a Tupperware container and back in the fridge for a picnic the next day.
These didn’t taste as awful as they looked, I brought them along to Sunday’s Blogger Brunch and everyone ate and complimented me on the way they taste. Either everyone was being very polite, or I made a batch of decent tasting awful looking cakes.

Things I have learnt from this:

  •  Jelly should be made in a glass container, not on grease proof paper in a baking tray.
  • On the next attempt ignore the packet instructions, just add the boiling water.
  • The jelly may not have worked, but the cakes did, and dark chocolate was define let a good call.
  • I probably won’t make Jaffa cakes again, but now I really want a trifle!
  • Jelly makes an awesome snack when you need something sweet, especially when you’ve made three times more than you needed…

Now, I wonder what tomorrow’s bakes will be…


– Emily

Ps, I totally stole Sally’s upload day this week!

Spinach and Cheese Muffins: Meal Prep

 Whenever someone asks what my hobbies are, or what I do simply because I enjoy it, my first response is always reading then baking. I’ve touched on our love of books here a lot (evidence) but beyond a reference to the brownies I made for the first blogger event I attended, my other love has been neglected.
The bake I’m introducing to you is adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery, and I make a batch of these most weeks.  They freeze really well, lending  themselves perfectly to meal prepping and are, as far as I’m concerned, a fairly healthy snack. On a side note, I made these for my works bake off and they were snapped up pretty quickly!
Cheese and Spinach Muffins with a kick
Makes approximately 8 Muffins.
You will need:

  • A muffin tray. I use a 6 muffin tray and either a mini loaf tin or cupcake wrappers.
  • Muffin cases
  • A spatula
  • A big mixing bowl
  • A few smaller bowls
  • An electric mixer
  • A wooden spoon
  • Some elbow grease

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 220 ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 130 g shredded baby spinach (you can use frozen if you prefer, but I prefer fresh Spinach in this recipe)
  • Optional: half teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method
Shred your Spinach, disposing of the stalks, and grate your cheddar, put both to one side.
Add the muffin cases to the muffin tray and pre heat your oven to 170 C.

Crack and beat your egg lightly into the milk.
In a separate large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper and cheese.

Using your electric mixer slowly add the wet ingredients (milk, egg) to the dry ingredients (baking powder, flour, cheese, pepper). Once all has combined put your electric mixer to one side (after scraping the beaters).
Add the Spinach to the mix and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. You will have a very elastic dough, meaning this is the most tedious aspect of the recipie as mixing takes ages.

Once well combined spoon your elastic dough into the muffin cases, aim for 2/3 full.
If you have extra dough add this to the cupcake cases or mini loaf tin. Be aware the cooking time for these will differ. (less for the cupcakes more for the mini loaf)

Bake for 30 about minutes. Once you reach 30 minutes pop a fork/cocktail stick into a muffin, if it comes out clean they’re done! Other wise give it a few more minutes and test again.

Take your muffins out of the oven, after about ten minutes carefully move them to a wire cooling rack.

Either leave to cool completely and freeze the surplus, or eat whilst they’re still hot with a bit of butter.

Nb: these will spoil after a couple days so always freeze the excess. Take a muffin out the night before, and it will be perfect for a healthy mid morning snack. 



You will also need to justify these muffins when you eat them, people often seem perplexed by these.

There you go! If you make these let me know what you think of them!


– Emily 

My Favourite Breakfast: Overnight Oats.

I am all about making my life easy in the morning so if I can do it the night before I do.

I have now discovered Overnight Oats and I am never turning back. Its quick, easy, nutritious and filling which is all I need from breakfast. So let’s cook (if it is even is cooking).

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First find yourself a jar or something that can be put in the fridge.

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First add 1/3 of a cup of rolled whole grain oats.

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Next is a 1/3 of a cup of milled linseed or chai seeds or something along those lines.

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Then add in some sort of milk, dairy if you like. I use either soya, coconut or almond whatever’s on offer.

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Next I add in a few tablespoons of yoghurt, it helps make it nice stodgy just how I like it. This can always be left out if you prefer.

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Then I add some honey for sweetness. Started with a tablespoon now weakening myself off a bit.

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Then I add in some fruit. Currently it’s frozen berries but it can be whatever you want, fresh or frozen.

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Mix it all together and put it in the fridge overnight.

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And there it is. Saves me so much time in the morning and it’s delicious.

Let me know what your favourite breakfast is.

Thanks for reading. Speak soon -Sally 🙂